Julian & Jill Barson and Ashley Andrews of Leontyna Olive Oil scooped an impressive five awards, including Best of Show, at the 2010 Mornington Peninsula Olive Association Awards.

Jill Barson reports for Olivegrower & Processor on the Mornington Peninsula Olive Association’s 2010 Awards Dinner

It was a winter’s night in late August, freezing cold and dark – until you turned the corner.  Yes this was the right place: Summerfields Estate, ablaze with welcoming lights inviting us to have a great night. This was the Mornington Peninsula Olive Association’s Awards Dinner for 2010.

Sixty six people attended a terrific evening, enjoying great company and a meal of quality restaurant standards. Then it was awards time.

I am delighted to say that we had 18 medals to present, in only our second year of running the awards.  We are also very pleased that we had entries from outside of the Mornington Pensinsula area, and even one interstate exhibit.

EVOO classes included Single Estate Grown, Multi-Estate Grown and Mornington Peninsula Grown, with sub-classes of Mild, Medium and Robust in each category. There were also additional classes for Flavoured Oils and Table Olives.

La Grue Estate EVOO won Gold as a fine example of a mild, delicate oil with good complexity and Leontyna EVOO won Gold as a well balanced, fruity and flavoursome medium oil.
Leontyna EVOO also went on to win Best In Show.

The Mornington Peninsula Olive Association would like to congratulate all the winners of awards, and offer an invitation to all growers and industry members to exhibit and/or join us next year for another awards night to remember.

We also send a big thank you to the growers and producers for their support, along with thanks to our Chief Judge Richard Gawel, Claudia Guillaume and Pablo Canamasas for their time and expertise. A special thank you to Modern Olives for their continued support of our organisation.


GOLD    Class 1A – Single Estate Grown, Mild – LaGrue Estate
GOLD    Class 1B – Single Estate Grown, Medium – Paringa Ridge – Leontyna
GOLD    Class 3B – Mornington Peninsula Grown, Medium – Paringa Ridge – Leontyna
SILVER    Class 1B – Single Estate Grown, Medium – Olio Zito Grove
SILVER    Class 1C – Single Estate Grown, Robust – Old Cotton Tree Grove
SILVER    Class 2B – Multi Estate Grown, Medium – Paringa Ridge – Jac & Zac’s Blend
SILVER    Class 3B – Mornington Peninsula Grown, Medium – Olio Zito Grove
SILVER    Class 3B – Mornington Peninsula Grown, Medium – Paringa Ridge – Jac & Zac’s Blend
SILVER    Class 3C – Mornington Peninsula Grown, Robust – Old Cotton Tree Grove
Class 2A – Multi Estate Grown, Mild – no entries
Class 2C – Multi Estate Grown, Robust – no entries
Class 3A – Mornington Peninsula Grown, Mild – no Gold or Silver medals awarded
Flavoured Oils – no entries
Table Olives – no entries

The Olive Centre, Olive Grove of the Year Award winners Julian and Jill Barson, of Paringa Ridge, with award sponsor Amanda Bailey (right)

One of the highlights of the annual National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards is the presentation of The Olive Centre, Olive Grove of the Year Award. The 2010 award went to boutique Mornington Peninsula growers Paringa Ridge.

Sponsored and co-ordinated by The Olive Centre’s Amanda Bailey since 2006, the award rewards and recognises olive groves providing an example of excellence in operation. Particular emphasis is given to continuing improvements in sustainable olive growing and production of high quality oil and/or table olives, and the inspiration of peers through shared experiences.

The Olive Centre’s Amanda Bailey said the number and quality of entries made choosing this year’s winner a difficult task.

“Many growers are trying to continually improve their groves,” she said.

“Paringa have taken good advice wholeheartedly and implemented the requirements as set out.  This grove demonstrates to boutique growers that they too can achieve great results, if the attention to detail is adhered to.

“The production per tree was particularly significant, and is where Paringa clearly stood out.”

Bailey said the judges were impressed by Paringa Ridge’s history of innovation in grove management, including:

  • 2006 – pilot trial of inoculation by antibiotic dowel insertion into trunks of infected trees;
  • 2008 – introduced monitoring Calcium requirements to minimise risk of pests and disease;
  • 2009 – one of the first groves in the area to use lower-risk loosening agents.

“In short, they use cutting edge answers to solving grove problems,” Bailey said.

“And the results have been impressive. Their high fruit and oil yields per hectare are similar to those of the best-performing groves in the country, despite being a 1000-tree grove in the rather marginal climate of the Mornington Peninsula.

“Even more impressive is that those yields have been achieved without compromising oil quality and this has been reflected in a number of gold medals, as well as Best in Class and Best in Show awards, over the past four years.

“They are also active beyond their own business, playing an important role within the Mornington Peninsula Olive Growing Association to promote the industry and the region’s products. Working together for the benefit of the industry as a whole is an important part of ensuring ongoing success for the Australian olive industry, so is in turn an important factor in determining the winner of this annual award.”

Paringa Ridge owners Jill and Julian Barson were at the presentation dinner in Adelaide, and were thrilled to collect their award.

“Julian and I feel excited and quite overwhelmed at the thought that the decisions made by us through the initial stages of our grove and since, have been recognised by others in the industry,” Jill said.

“Over the last seven years we have tried to approach problems and challenges as learning opportunities, and dealt with them in a measured and open-minded manner. This has led us to trying new and innovative solutions which, fortunately, have paid off.

“We would like to thank Modern Olives for their constant support and advice, because without their assistance we would have had a far more difficult journey.”

The Olive Centre, Olive Grove of the Year – judging criteria

The judges take a number of factors into consideration, including the nature of the grove (variety, age of trees), available resources, past and current yields, product quality and orchard management. Among other criteria, winners will demonstrate: ongoing improvement in the effectiveness and sustainability of orchard operations; practices in overcoming problems specific to the industry, grove or region; support of the local environment and/or community; and external involvement, including the sharing of practices pertaining to improvements.

Entrants are short-listed for final judging based on a written submission and crop data. Final judging is then conducted as an interview and property visit by an industry judging panel.

For more information contact The Olive Centre at: [email protected]

Extravirgin Olive Oil   comes of age on the Mornington Peninsula

Maritime Cool Climate Olives set the benchmark

Mornington Peninsula Olive Association has confirmed the Peninsula as one of the premier Olive production regions in the country. 16 of 18 EVOO entries received a Bronze Medal or better at the inaugural Extravirgin Olive Oil and Table Olive competition . The   celebratory awards dinner was held at Paringa Estate, Red Hill on Saturday 29/8/2009.The competition was open to all olive groves  in the Mornington Peninsula shire and was independently judged by three of Australia’s most eminent  and internationally accredited judges  headed by  Richard Gawel from South Australia. Oils were subjected to full biochemical  analysis  by Modern Olives ( Victoria) and organoleptic (sensory) evaluation.

The results were consistent with those achieved by Mornington Peninsula  Oils in the last three years at national olive oil competitions. Although the MP does not yet produce large quantities of olive oil,   it has won acclaim for quality far exceeding its relative production levels. The judging panel summarized the results as outstanding.

The panel   awarded  two gold awards together with  a number of silver &  bronze awards  in the olive oil section and an outstanding merit certificate in the table olive section.

In conveying the assessment of the tasting panel  Richard Gawel commented on the brilliant freshness, taste and useability of Mornington Peninsula Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

He also made reference to the outstanding biochemical characteristics of the oils, and the role that this is increasingly playing as a marker of the health benefits and quality of  extravirgin olive oil.

The best oil of the show  for 2009 ( and inaugural  ‘Primo de situ’ or ‘best of the region’) was awarded to one  of the  gold medallists ( Leontyna Estate ) for an outstanding  Picual/Koroneiki blend.   The award was presented by MP Shire Economic Development Officer, Mr Shane Murphy. In accepting the award, Jill and Julian Barson acknowledged the dedication of  their manager, Mr Ashley Andrews in the success.

The other gold medal winner ( Oil makers and growers Peta and Ralph Zito of Victorian Olive Groves) received their principal award for a stunning single varietal Koroneiki together with several other awards.

The presentation dinner was co-ordinated and hosted by Jill Barson and highlighted a brilliant menu enhanced by the award winning oils and complemented by the fine wines of Paringa Estate.

The co-president of the MPOA ( Assoc Prof Graeme Hart) launched the regional appellation and accreditation process for Mornington Peninsula Oils. This Geographic Indicator (GI) program establishes a quality framework that ensures consumers that olive oils bearing the MP GI logo are verified to be from the Peninsula and that the oils will therefore have the special characteristics for which the MP is becoming known. These Maritime Cool Climate Olives and Olive Oils display high antioxidant and flavour characteristics.

The benefits of co-operation with vignerons, regional gourmet societies and a supportive potential role for local government were highlighted by different speakers.
Graeme Hart, together with Julian Barson ( MPOA webmaster) also launched the Mornington Peninsula Olive Association website with its distinctive logo and maritime theme. This new site will become an integral link for MP regional producers, feature Mornington Olive Products and is an information resource for the public. The public area includes information on olive oil, health information, links to members web sites and information for prospective new members.
The full results of the 2009 competition will be available on the website.
The future looks bright for Olives to join other to join and enhance others premium foods produced in Australia’s premier maritime region , The Mornington Peninsula.